San Francisco-based journalist Mac McClelland recently wrote a devastatingly honest essay for Good about the rape-related post-traumatic stress disorder she suffered after working in Haiti. The story was not about Haiti, it was about how the author dealt with the psychological trauma of sexual violence. But that didn’t stop a group of 36 female journalists and researchers attacking McClelland in an open letter.
Here’s how they use PC bullshit to criticize a woman for speaking about her personal experience with sexual harassment and violence:
In writing about a country filled with guns, “ugly chaos” and “gang-raping monsters who prowl the flimsy encampments,” she paints Haiti as a heart-of-darkness dystopia, which serves only to highlight her own personal bravery for having gone there in the first place. She makes use of stereotypes about Haiti that would be better left in an earlier century: the savage men consumed by their own lust, the omnipresent violence and chaos, the danger encoded in a black republic’s DNA.
Um, no. McClelland gave an honest account of her personal experience. She never once suggested sexual violence was a problem limited to Haiti, or perpetrated primarily by black men. Did these people even read the essay? Can you say “projection”?
The Atlantic has a spot-on response:
This is what a hit piece reads like when it’s cloaked in liberal arts school vernacular. If you scoffed when Pres. Obama was smeared as having a Kenyan anti-colonial mindset, witness the other side’s answer to Dinesh D’Souza: in their telling, we’re to understand the writer by presuming that she has a colonial mindset. How dare someone travel to refugee camps plagued by an epidemic of gang rape, get cornered by her driver, develop PTSD, and focus an essay about her ailment on “ugly chaos”?
McClelland spoke to Ms. magazine about the backlash:
It’s not an article, it’s an essay. I wrote a cover story [for Mother Jones]–that was my Haiti coverage. This was not my Haiti coverage; this was about me. In terms of the depiction of Haiti, none of those other journalists are denying that Haiti has a serious, serious rape problem. There are a lot of guns in Haiti–that is also true. And that’s pretty much the only thing I say about Haiti, other than my personal experience there with a couple of unfortunate and predatory men.
I knew that something was going to happen. I just didn’t know that a New York Times correspondent was going to be so ridiculous as to suggest [on Twitter] that because I had sex with a [French] peacekeeper I am a geisha for the NGO-industrial complex.
Journalists should know better. Or go work for FOX News.